He lifts up the lowly: the Assumption of Mary into heaven

By Callie Nowlin

North Texas Catholic

Immaculate Conception of the Soul by Bartolome Murillo, 1678 

I am excited to share with you my love of Scripture and prayer.

St. Jerome says, “Ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ,” and basic knowledge is important but how can you know someone if you do not speak and listen to Him?

Lectio Divina, or divine reading, is an ancient and intentional practice of praying with Scripture that helps us listen to the Word of God. 

Lectio Divina is a form of meditation dating back to early monastic communities, and is resurfacing today in Bible study groups and Christian communities across the country.

Here are the steps:

  • Lectio: First, having asked for the grace to hear God’s Word, read the passage twice.
  • Meditatio: During the second reading, pause and reflect on the word or sentence that strikes you.
  • Oratio: Third, speak back to the Lord and open your reflection to Him.
  • Contemplatio: Finally, listen contemplatively for any response God might choose to make. Remember that God responds to us at times with loving silence.

Mary is the expert of Lectio Divina as she not only “pondered these things in her heart” (Luke 2:19), but she even conceived the eternal Word of God in her womb. As a master of prayer she is also an exemplar of true humility and it is to her that we look for guidance. 

Start by reading the Gospel from the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, celebrated on August 15. Use the steps on top to reflect on the Scripture verse. Then read the meditation below.

In the Blessed Mother’s prayer to God (the Magnificat), she declares that He“lifted up the lowly.” This refers both to her being chosen as the Mother of God as well as her being “lifted up” in her Assumption. For this is precisely what the Assumption means, that Mary was “lifted up” or assumed, body and soul, into the presence of God in heaven.  

In her Magnificat, Mary looks back over the whole history of Israel summarizing not only God’s saving work in history but also her own personal relationship with He who lifts up lowly Israel time and time again. She does so because she speaks out of a true and trusting knowledge of God as savior who topples the mighty and raises the humble. Moreover, her Magnificat is also prophetic in that her song of praise is fulfilled in her being assumed, body and soul, into God’s presence at the end of her natural life.

The passage challenges us to have the same humility as our Blessed Mother, who was obedient and faithful to his will in her life. We see her obedience and fidelity affirmed by the mystery of the Assumption in which God shows his deep love for his humble servant by raising her up to heaven. May we all, like Mary, hear the word of God, ponder it in our hearts, and be lifted up as his humble and faithful servants.

St. Jerome says, “Ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ,” and basic knowledge is important but how can you know someone if you do not speak and listen to Him? Lectio Divina, or divine reading, is an ancient and intentional practice of praying with Scripture that helps us listen to the Word of God. 

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